I had a conversation with a friend recently. She was openly frustrated about a situation which she had been battling for many years; one which seemingly got worse and worse. Based on what she shared, there really was going to be no change, as someone else was involved. That person was the source of her anger, anguish, distress, heartburn and possibly a few wrinkles. As I listened, it became apparent that she was having the same experience, repeatedly so, but was hoping for a better response.
How many of us can identify with this? I sure can! My relationship with Christ is one such example. I attend worship service or bible class and something that is said makes me feel so inspired! I become ready to take on the world, to be Christ-like in all my ways. I have it all figured out – from the weekly fasting sessions to trading nightly TV shows for personal study. The early saints have nothing on me! Until of course, round about day 3 or so, if I last that long. My excitement soon fizzles and I quickly revert to whatever my old habits were. The same could be said of my attempts to eat well and be fit and active, but let’s not go there. The point is, my behavior doesn’t change, so my outcome doesn’t either.
Perhaps something that’s more on the nose is the expectations we have of others, which they are not able to fulfill. Think about it for a second – while your hairdresser, bless her heart, may leave you with the most incredible coiffure, she’s probably not the one to go to for heart surgery. I think I’m a fair writer, but don’t bring anything resembling Math my way. My brain will shut down and smoke will probably start coming from my ears.
In my mind, a lot of what my friend experienced is as a result of her failure to accept that the other party in her situation was never going to do what she expected. Her expectations and her response to this person needed to be adjusted in order for the outcome to be different.
When she was through venting, I looked her square in the eye and said, “This may sound harsh, but the truth is, you can’t expect more than a grunt from a pig.” She quietly nodded in agreement.
Perhaps we should recognize where we are, and where the other characters in our stories are as well, then manage our expectations of them accordingly. Maybe, just maybe, we ought to stop waiting for pigs to fly and be satisfied with their grunts. And the occasional slice of bacon.